Tell us what you're seeing out there.
Spent a day discovering Haines Pass. To summarize things: there is no snow. It is still an early season snowpack with rocks showing everywhere, uncovered bushes and no snowbanks beside the road (which is pretty icy in spots). Beautiful day so we went for a little ski near Nadahini Peak, but horrible conditions. Hard crust with a couple wind swept snow patches. On the plus side, a lot warmer there than in Whitehorse, with temps around -15C in the afternoon. Originally posted by Charron.Alex on www.avalanche.ca
Pass Zone: No turns but a sunny drive over the pass revealed numerous natural, wind slab avalanches, particularly between the Jarvis Glacier and Rainy Hollow. Avalanches were observed in terrain loaded and cross loaded by NWerly winds, primarily cross loaded gullies above 3500'. Crowns appeared to be 25-50cm deep, most slides size 2 within specific terrain features, running 100-200m and small relative to path. I estimate most of the avalanches observed ran in the last 72 hours given the appearance of the crowns and the ongoing snow transport at all elevations, possibly reloading paths. The bed surface is the interface between the old snow surface and the newly formed wind slab.
Mumfords skied surprisingly well today. 8-15cm of soft snow overlays a snowpack consisting of predominantly ice. Soft snow was a mixed bag of rimed new snow, decomposing forms and small near surface facets around the crust interface. In favored, sheltered areas, I found soft snow up to 25cm deep, and generally poorly bonded to the underlying ice, although not consolidated enough to propagate a failure. Snowpack depths ranged from 70-110cm above 2000'. The mid and lower snow pack were hard to get a probe into let alone a shovel. Some of the crusts and ice layers showed signs of beginning to decompose but observations were tough to make given the resistance of the snowpack to digging. Highest observed elev. was 3200'
As expected, there's a variable depth snowpack below 4000', 30-150cm in most places, deeper in drainages and along ridges ascending either side of the saddle. Poorly bonded wind slabs on aspects paralleling the river have been releasing naturally over the last month, ranging D1-D2 at 3300'-3800'. A relatively thin snowpack, coupled with various wind and warming events has created a touchy situation along the mid to upper elevation band in this area. No signs of weakness while traveling as the surface crust remains supportive and seems to be bridging instabilities along travel routes. Don't be fooled, buried weaknesses still exist. Most can be felt with a probe and are easily identified. Multiple tests failed during isolation on these punchy faceted layers at and above treeline. Other problems are harder to identify, such as recently loaded surface hoar on solar slopes below 3500'. Wind features and scoured surfaces straddle opposite sides of alpine ridges above 3500'.
Old Faithful @ 3000 ft, NE aspect, 15 degrees. Snowpack is 136cm and brushy. 8-10cm storm snow from Monday has mostly faceted, and below 3000 ft showed no evidence of wind effect. Rest of snowpack is well consolidated, dense, and hard to get a probe into. Overall, thin coverage but the surface snow is soft and skis great!